I have a confession.
I have not gone for dim sum since that wonderous experience at China House at the Oriental hotel in Bangkok almost a year ago. (I choose to ignore the half eaten remains we abandoned after ‘dining’ at a low rent dim sum chain late on our last night in Bangkok. Ugh.)
There was a time when Mike and I used to visit dim sum establishments biweekly, or at least monthly.
My lack of dim sum consumption is not because I do not like dim sum. It’s because I do not like Edmonton’s dim sum options.
At the risk of sounding like a food snob, I just can’t get into our dim sum. I’ve enjoyed my meals at Cha for Tea Palace (17512 Stony Plain Road, Edmonton) but do not pine for it weekly as I do China House.
While Edmonton has a large Chinese population, we really seem to lack any type of haute Chinese cuisine. I’d kill to eat good Sizchuan, or to be able to order tender, fresh, flavourful dumplings from a cart. The difference is not in missing obscure Chinese ingredients like sea cucumber or various forms of offal. While I have enjoyed those, it’s not what keeps me returning. My interest is merely in fresh, well composed ingredients. Edmonton is just lacking in restauranteurs willing to source these ingredients, I suppose. Or perhaps it’s a problem of geographical location. I don’t know. But I do know many other cities that provide much better dim sum options.
In any case, I had been avoiding Mike’s requests to eat dim sum for some time, but finally caved and went just after New Years Day.
Mike, two friends and I decided to visit Noodle Noodle (10008 106 Avenue, Edmonton) in downtown Edmonton. After a sad visit for dinner a few years ago, I wasn’t expecting much. Maybe that’s why my experience was actually…good.
Not stellar, but there were some highlights. The kai-lan (chinese broccoli) was crunchy and verdant. Little was limp or over cooked: except for the rice noodle rolls, which were crispy and delicious, almost caramelized due to their “over cooking” – which will be requested next time. The dishes balanced savoury and sweet well, and most things were piping hot.
A mistake: the Sizchuanese pepper chicken. It was not made with Sizchuan pepper, and the “pepper” that was on top was just on top, not distributed well. Will not order again.
Service was helpful and fast despite the crowds of diners, and included the obligatory grannies trying to guilt you into buying their cart items. Our bill came to about $80 for the 4 of us, including a few specialty items that cost $7.
The next time I partake in dim sum might be in Las Vegas, but if I ever had to go to another in Edmonton, Noodle Noodle would probably fit the bill, especially if I was not eager to drive to the west end to Cha for Tea.
I don’t think my waistline misses the biweekly dim sum visits, though.